You Save My Life

April 19, 2011
Melissa’s finger lingered on the button that rolled down the window, but only for a minute. She pressed it and smiled as the sea breeze grazed her face. She could taste the salt in the air, and knew she was almost home. She rolled up the window and punched the power button to the radio. Rascal Flatts filled her ears-
I come around all broken down and crowded out
And you're comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate
I don't know, I don't know
How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

Melissa looked to Eric, and smiled because he had the most goofy look on his face- she knew exactly what he was going to say.

“Ya know, this song reminds me of you.” Every time, just like clockwork. Melissa rolled her eyes and looked away. Eric chuckled to himself and she peeked a look at him. He was singing along to the radio, not noticing Melissa was staring at him. She admired his perfect grin, the way his hair fell so perfectly whenever the wind blew it, his perfect pitch to the song. This is her life and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

They came across the usual rush hour traffic, and were just 10 minutes from home. Their car was the last in a long line of over 200 cars. Melissa sighed and grabbed Eric’s hand. He shyly looked at her- he loves it when she does that. Eric flicked his eyes to his rearview mirror and suddenly gasped. Melissa squeezed his hand, not knowing what to expect. They both then felt their car fiercely jolt.

“What in the world..? Was that a truck?” Melissa asked.

Eric got out of his car to assess the damage. Melissa overheard the truck driver’s apology, for his brakes temporarily failed. Melissa, hoping Eric was being kind to him, was thankful the damage was small. “Just a small dent” she heard Eric say. Wow, how lucky are we, she thought.

The exchange of insurance information lasted over a half an hour, and Melissa thought it was ridiculous. She rolled down her window to let Eric know it was time to go, but she heard a couple laughs and excitement about last night’s game- it was apparent they were quickly becoming friends. Melissa rolled up her window, smiled, and let it be. She looked to her left and noticed a teenager smoking. She didn’t even look old enough to buy her own cigarettes, let alone drive. The wind suddenly picked up and violently shook the car. She watched the teen roll down her window and carelessly flicked the cigarette out on the pavement, and then watched it roll towards her car. Melissa frowned with disappointment. Eric looked to Melissa, remembering she was in the car, and saw her frown. He began walking towards her, when the car burst into flames.

Four weeks in the burn unit, and Eric still didn’t recognize Melissa. Her chance of survival was so slim; EMS didn’t think she would live through the ambulance ride to the hospital. Melissa had beaten the odds, but Eric still wasn’t satisfied. He was frustrated with the doctors and believed they weren’t doing everything they could to help Melissa.

He visited Melissa as often as he could, which was twice a day: once before work and once after work. Every single time he walked into her room, his guilt knocked him to his knees. The love of his life, covered from head to toe in bandages. Not one inch of her was ‘his’ Melissa. She was foreign to him. He would sit in a chair until he had to go to work, and then sit in that same chair until visiting hours were over. He didn’t know if she would ever move, ever talk, or ever even open her eyes. Those were all questions he had avoided. He didn’t trust the nurses because they all looked at him with pity in their eyes. Even if he did ask, he knew they would lie. “Well, there’s always a small chance..” and “turn to God, son” were all things he thought he would hear. There’s no truth in that. Besides, what has God done besides give Eric Melissa and then take her away in such a crude and unfair manner? That was a thought that caused Eric not to be able to sleep at night.

Two months have passed. Eric’s frequent visiting has shortened to only once a day, and sometimes not at all. He blamed it on the negative energy at the hospital, but deep down he knows he doesn’t have any strength left to be there for Melissa. Others would shorten those words to ‘coward’ and ‘careless’. Melissa’s appearance scared him. Most of her bandages were off. Her face was unrecognizably deformed along with the rest of her body. Melissa’s parents stopped calling him to check up on him. The last time they saw each other, Eric hadn’t showered; he still had on last night’s party clothes, and reeked of old alcohol and cigarettes. They were mostly disgusted at the fact that Eric had picked up the habit that put their daughter in the very state she was in right now. Eric didn’t know how to be happy anymore and found comfort only in addicting habits. At least they’re always there for me was a thought he often thought. He began playing the ‘blame game’. Melissa should have gotten out of the car with me or if only she hadn’t distracted me, I would’ve changed into the other lane and all of this would’ve been avoided. Thoughts like those kept him all too comfortable at night.

A year and a half have passed. Eric had been on the brink of death a couple of times: Multiple visits to the ER to have his stomach pumped, and a broken left foot from drunkenly walking out in front of a car. He doesn’t visit Melissa anymore, but word is she opened her eyes and is talking. The one time he was guilty enough to go to church, the priest confronted him afterwards. “Son, you need God” he said. “And, she’s asking for you.” He never went back again.

Ten years passed, and Melissa had moved to a rehab facility about two years after her accident. Eric also moved when people started forgetting about him. He started a new life, with new friends, but never found anyone that came close to Melissa. He stopped blaming Melissa, and he had nightmares that haunted him every night. However, he couldn’t bring himself to contact her, who he heard is doing really well and has her own job… and a child. When he heard the news that she had a child, he figured that severed their ties for forever.

Twelve years later. Eric decided to visit his parents, whom he recently started connecting with again. A long, stuffy flight to California made him want to take a quiet walk on the beach. It was nearing sunset, and families were packing up to go home. As he was walking, a young girl of about twelve ran right in front of him, chasing after a beach ball. He almost toppled over her but caught his balance. He faintly heard her say “excuse me, sir.” She looked up at him with a huge, innocent grin on her face. That’s when it hit him. He was staring into Melissa’s beautiful, blue eyes and his big, cheesy grin.

Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Kelz1141 said...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm
It was cute, but very unrealistic. A baby would not survive that.
CJK0298 said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm
Tayrl said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm
Good idea for a story, a little unrealistic though...but still, that's what makes it a story right? haha. Good job:)
krzykrys said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:14 am
 honestly i love the story! although i think its pretty unrealistic that the kid would have survived if she hardly did but i am glad she did, it is always nice when there is a happy ending.
LoverOfKnowledge said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 9:49 am
I love it! I'm crying sooo hard right now that I can hardly see my screen. if u ever right a novel I need to know asap!
LunarFireworks said...
Apr. 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm
I love the last paragraph! good job
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